How Much Does SEO Cost?

Advocates of SEO will talk about the low cost compared to traditional advertising. Instead of paying thousands of dollars to appear in front of a wide audience a few times, your site can reach potential customers as they actively search for related products and services. Make no mistake, though—SEO costs money, and good SEO costs even more.

This raises an important question: How much does SEO cost, and can your business afford it?

The answer to the first question will depend on several factors, including the scope of your SEO strategy and whether you do it in-house or through an agency. The answer to the second question is simple: SEO is an important online marketing strategy, so your business can’t afford not to implement it.

Since SEO is a must in today’s Internet-driven marketplace, it’s important to determine how much you should spend and what you can expect for the money. And in order to estimate your cost, you first need to understand how companies determine their pricing.

Call 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist about SEO services from WebFX, or keep reading to learn more about the costs associated with optimizing a website.

SEO Pricing Explained


Pricing models

No two SEO agencies price their services in the same way. Company size, business model, and SEO needs will dictate the scope of your SEO program and what you pay for it.

However, there are a few basic models that many agencies use to determine costs. Here are a few of the most common:

By the hour

SEO consultants that do not work for agencies typically charge by the hour, and can run anywhere from $25 to $500 per hour. The majority of clients, though, spend between $50 and $200 per hour, depending on whether they hire an individual or a small team and whether the consultant is a relative newcomer or brings years of SEO experience.

By the project

While not very common, a company may occasionally hire an agency or consultant to execute an SEO strategy on a particular project or campaign. Because project needs vary by company and campaign, it’s difficult to provide an estimate, and prices can range from $500 to more than $30,000.

The cost ultimately depends on project scope, timeframe, and level of experience.

By the month

This is the most popular model for companies that want to implement an ongoing SEO strategy and utilize services on an as-needed basis.

At the low end of the spectrum—about $500 per month—an agency will perform basic SEO tasks, like on-page optimization and copywriting. At the higher end - $5000 per month or more—agencies will produce high quality content and outreach it to other sites in order to build links.

Most companies fall between these two extremes, and opt for custom strategies based on the services they need. The benefit to this pricing model is that as you build a relationship with an agency, they’ll be able to build your site’s SEO over time.

Some of our client Successes

case study Increased
Traffic by
Ocean City NJ paddle boat
case study Increased
Rate by
image of heavy equipment
case study Increased
Generated by
“We measure our success by how much we WOW our clients.”

Bill Craig
WebFX President

Bill Craig
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In-house staff

A full-time SEO specialist or team can spend all day, every day on your SEO strategy, without getting distracted by another company in need of SEO services. The costs add up quickly with this option, though.

The expected salary of an experienced specialist typically starts at about $50,000 per year. Depending on SEO needs and projected agency costs, however, this can sometimes be a cost-effective option.

Which SEO option is best for your company?

As you can see, the cost of SEO runs the gamut. The same amount may be far too much for one business and far too little for another. So how do you know if you’re paying the right amount, and whether or not you’re using the best cost structure for your business?

The following questions will help you find out.

What’s the goal of your SEO strategy?

A small business’s website won’t require as much time or effort as an international corporation’s. If you have a small website or just want a starting point and plan to do ongoing SEO in-house, a project-based price plan or hourly consultant could be all you need.

For an ongoing strategy, however, monthly and yearly plans are more cost-effective than paying by the hour.

Improve your online visibility with SEO

A strong online presence is essential for any company to succeed. When you partner with WebFX, we'll help you maximize your online visibility, reach new customers, and increase your overall revenue.

What can you afford?

If your business is just starting out, you probably don’t have room in your budget for full-service Internet marketing. Still, your site needs to be found online if you want to grow.

You may find that working with a part-time consultant or contracting a basic SEO package from an agency is enough for the first few years. And as your business grows, so will your company size, website, and SEO needs and budget.

Then, if you decide that you want to improve your SEO strategy, you can decide whether it makes more sense to hire an in-house team or contract an agency.

How much does your staff know about SEO?

One of the reasons marketing agencies are so valuable is because they have years of experience growing clients’ businesses online. However, if your business is tech-related, there’s a chance you already employ people who know how to optimize your website and will stick with an in-house cost structure.

If you’re running any other kind of business, it may be best to leave the implementation of an SEO program to an experienced external agency rather than try to learn the practice and take the focus off of core business activities.

Want to explore your options with SEO?

How much does SEO cost? When it comes down to it, not nearly as much as it yields in revenue, traffic and brand awareness. Still, the right SEO budget will depend on what your company wants to achieve and what it can afford.

If you’re looking for an experienced agency to help your company reach more customers online, WebFX can help. Contact us today to speak with a strategist about how our team can use SEO and other Internet marketing strategies to grow your business and generate more revenue.

Ready to start your Internet marketing and design campaigns? Call 888.449.3239 or contact us online today to learn more about how WebFX can help with your SEO challenges.